Saturday, October 20, 2018

Looking at the Heart

As always, my writing mentors speak to me just when I need to hear them.


Scrolling through Facebook, I came upon Leigh Anne's post (notice I stole her title) reflecting on Ruth's post.  There was a tweet included with Leigh Anne's and those words went straight to my heart because like Leigh Anne, I felt I had been focusing on behaviors instead of hearts.

I'm long-term subbing for a friend's maternity leave.

She's a special ed teacher. An amazing one.

She's a regular ed teacher also. An amazing one.

Kids love her.

And many of the students she works with have behavior issues. And there are regular teenagers who have their own issues. In the stress of starting in her classroom, in the hurriedness of catching up, in finding my "teaching every day" mojo, I forgot to look at the hearts.

I let behaviors get to me.

I thought back to a conversation I had with a friend one day about a certain student. I told her how I was having a difficult time with a kid. And in describing what was going on, I realized that I was the problem.

Then the new boy came. I'm really trying to connect with him and make his first days more comfortable. And another new boy started and he was so nervous he didn't make it to class. Then there's the new boy from last year who is so angry. That anger comes out in sarcasm and meanness. He's tough. He's hard. And in thinking about those boys, I knew I'd have to deal differently with all the others. I had to quit being the problem.

So, I'm going to keep the words on "my" desk so I see them every day because even experienced teachers need reminders...

What if we looked at the heart instead of the behavior?



Tuesday, October 2, 2018

#WOD . Hidden

hidden in the fog
of my early morning brain
WORDS WAIT
to tumble to my fingerprints
and spill on to the page







10 Things I'd Rather Do Than Write
1. Play Facebook games
2. Take a bath
3. Read my book
4. Take the polish off my toenails
5. Eat ice cream
6. Make phone calls
7. Check my snapchat and instagram
8. Doze in my chair
9. twiddle my thumbs
10. Prepare for classes tomorrow



And now I've shared some writing today.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

#sol18 A Fish Tale

Grandma!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I need help!!!!!!!!!!
I caught a fish!!!!!!!

Max is one of our youngest grandkids and he is fishing crazy. Give him a pole when he comes to the lake and he is set for the day.

Where is it? What did you do with it?

It's on the dock. My friends are watching it.

Well, let me throw some clothes on...  it's 8:30 on Saturday morning. I'm lounging and drinking coffee.

 My friends are so helpful. Tony, you should get some friends like mine. Tony is his big brother and has barely opened his eyes.

I follow him out the door and up the road to the dock. Mind you, he jumped on his bike and raced up the road. I walk as fast as I can. The neighbors are laughing as I walk down the road. They heard him yelling all the way to the cabin.

I hand him an old towel and tell him to hold the fish with the towel and take the hook out of its mouth. He's pretty proud when he puts that fish in the bucket.




I stay and watch for quite a while. 3 boys. 1 fishing pole. Surely there would be some fighting. But no. Their motto was teamwork. They handed the pole off to each other. Baited hooks and took fish off. Together.






Grandpa frying up some of the bluegills


Eventually, the other boys left, but not Max. 6 hours later we made him leave his fishing spot for a few hours. He went back that night and caught more fish. And again in the morning. He ended up catching enough bluegills that there was enough fish for all of us to have lunch!


Saturday, July 14, 2018

#Celebratelu Things That Make Me Smile This Summer

Holy Cow. I let summer fun get in the way of writing for a while. But I'm not going to apologize for that. We've been busy having fun!

Chloe was not letting us leave without her

We took a little road trip to Bayfield, Wisconsin in mid-June and it was wonderful. What a beautiful area on Lake Superior. We stayed at a great little mom and pop motel right on the lake. It's probably the cleanest, friendliest place we've ever stayed. I would go back in heartbeat.






One of our favorite places on this trip was Tom's Burned Down Cafe. Talk about making the best of a bad situation. This guy buys a restaurant and gets ready to open. The place burns down the night before with the insurance check on his desk. He puts a tarp up and opens anyway. Never did rebuild, just keeps it like this.  Chloe was more than welcome and they even had water for dogs!





We also went to a Jackson Brown concert with our youngest son (a huge fan). Such an amazing night. The stories and the songs are still going through my head.






4th of July week was BUSY. Lots and lots of activities going on. There were visits with grandkids (and their parents), boat rides with friends, fireworks forever, another concert... Finally, everyone went home and Chloe and I had a quiet (hot) week at the lake. A little golf, a lot of watching sunsets and we finish the week last night with a birthday party.

So there you have it. A little summer celebration sharing. I hope yours is going as well as mine is and you forget to stop and share your celebrations too!



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

#sol18 . Road Trip

Make a list.

Edit the list.

Cross things off the list.

Lose the list.

Make a new list.

Heading out on a road trip.

No specific plans, just a destination in mind.

Motel reservation made.

Load the car.

Make room for Chloe (she loves road trips)

Too many clothes--not leaving any.

Sunglasses? Check.
Water bottle filled? Check.
Snack box filled? Check.
Mail stopped? Check.
Blog post written? Check!

See you next week!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

#celebratelu


It's been such a lovely week at the lake. The weather, for the most part, has been lovely. Chloe and I have been able to be outside, playing and taking lots of walks. If I'm not playing with Chloe, then I can sit outside, read and stare at the lake.

There have been afternoon naps, golf with friends, lunch with friends, dinner with friends.

You're getting the theme here, right?

My husband got back to the lake yesterday and got to join in the fun. While being alone is nice sometimes, I'm glad he's back. Things are just more fun with him around. After a busy week at work, he's more than ready for some lake fun.

I'm looking forward to heading home for a few days though. I've got some friends to check in with back there!


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

#sol18 A Perfect Summer Day

"The kids want to swim. Care if we come out?"


It definitely wasn't a lake day. Strong winds, dirty lake water. Ugh.

But we really wanted to see them. I sent the video and said, "How about we come to you?"

The girls jumped out of the car to greet us when we arrived. Or maybe they were just excited to see Chloe--because Chloe was sure excited to see them! Then the youngest boys came running. H had a secret that he told me, but not Grandpa because he wanted to surprise Grandpa. He learned to ride his bike without training wheels! The saying "smile a mile wide" was no exaggeration as he rode down the sidewalk showing off for us. Every so often, for the rest of the afternoon, he'd come up and say, "I'm going to ride around the block." And off he'd go. Still smiling.


The older boys appeared and we got hugs from them too. They'd been in the tents set up in the backyard. Camping had been the plan, but the winds and possibility of storms changed that. Backyard camping it is. Dads taught boys how to set up the tents. The plan was to sleep in the tents Friday and Saturday nights, but the weather had other plans. No worries though. Everyone had fun playing in them until bedtime.







We spent the afternoon talking. Family happenings, jobs, politics, music, and my favorite, Books!  My granddaughters are now reading YA books and it's so fun to share book ideas with them. They gave me ideas, I shared a few with them, and even a couple suggestions from the dads. We had a great time talking about them and why we loved them. I have a few I now have to check our library for.




Finally, it was time for my husband and me to leave. We both sighed as we got in the car. While the weather wasn't perfect, the day itself certainly was.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Art Of Doing Nothing


Ruth's son, Sam, inspired my post this morning. If you haven't read Ruth's post about Sam's summer to do list, you should hop on over and read it.

Here at the lake, we all do have chores to do and jobs to go home to, but while here, most of us have mastered the art of doing nothing. And it's a beautiful place to do nothing. After Sam's explanation, I thought I'd make my own list.


Taking Chloe on a long walk along the lakeshore is always a great way for me to do nothing. Especially when I let Chloe take the lead. She loves when I just let her go where she wants and sniff everything in her path. I do have to pay attention to her a little bit, though. She's been known to almost pull me off my feet when she gets a whiff of some critter and wants to go off hunting.






Reading is also a great way to relax. My problem is when I read outside I sometimes just put my book down and stare at the lake. There is nothing more relaxing than watching the waves roll into shore. I also watch the birds a lot. Their eyesight must be fantastic. I sure can't see the bugs they are dive-bombing!






Naps are always a good relaxer. At home I never need them. Here at the lake, I often "close my eyes for a minute". It's not hard work that makes me sleepy, just plain old-fashioned relaxation.

Short walks around the resort are great for doing nothing. You can also check-in with all the others doing nothing, see how their nothingness is doing. You have to be careful on these walks though. The ones who haven't perfected the art of doing nothing will try to guilt you into "doing something". They will try to make you see the error of your ways. My advice is to excuse yourself and just keep walking! Avoid the busyness!

Although sometimes watching others work can be fun. Crowds gather some days when new trailers get pulled in, when decks are being built, and old trailers are being painted. Yes. I have watched paint dry. The trick when watching others work is not to offer any suggestions on how to do it better. If you do that, be prepared to be invited to work!

Now. I'm curious. What's your favorite way to do nothing?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Summer

Finally.

Summer arrived.

Really arrived. High 90's for days in a row. And, a windy, rainstorm last night.

But here I am.


Drinking my coffee.

Reading my book.

Watching the waves.

NOT complaining about the heat
or lake flies

Because last month at this time there was still snow and ice hanging around.

Also. I don't have to go back to school today and finish up. Retired teachers don't have to go to school after Memorial Day.

I don't have to cook or clean or anything else I don't want to do because

I am at the lake.

Finally Celebrating Summer

Who's going to complain about lake flies and heat?

NOT ME.

Literally a month ago, northern Iowa still had snow on the ground. Ice out at the lake was not official until April 30th. I wasn't sure we'd ever open the cabin. A bit dramatic, I know. But it just seemed like winter and April lasted forever.

But here we are. The first official week of summer. I finished subbing Friday at 12:35pm. I don't have to go back to finish up Tuesday. I'm going to stay at the cabin and just enjoy.

I'm pretty sure Stephen King put out his new book just for me this summer. And the weatherman certainly heard me wishing for summer temps. Of course, he may have taken it a little too far. I'm not sure we needed 95 degrees quite so soon...


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

#sol18 The End Again

Well, I'm almost done. Friday is the last day of school and the last day of my long-term sub. I'll walk out the door with the students for summer vacation.

Some things were fairly easy. Some were harder than expected. There are things that I wish I had done differently.

I would have changed the book in the Modern Lit class from Gatsby to something I was more familiar with. I regret kids didn't have a good experience with the book. For a while, it wasn't for sure I would finish the year, so sticking with the plan was the way to go. But this group wasn't really meant for Gatsby. I know that because I taught most of them before. Even with a whole class novel, you have to think about the composition of the class.

While most of my classes were high school classes I taught before, there were two classes of eighth graders that I finished the year with. I would have set my deadlines with the 8th graders. There was some taking advantage of the sub for a little bit and because my time, in the beginning, was open-ended, it was difficult to convince some of them to stay on task. Even when I told them I was finishing the year with them, I was a sub, not a "real teacher". Boy. Could I have used a few high school kids to fill them in!

It had been a while since I taught junior high/middle schoolers and there were a few things I forgot

  • There is no room big enough for 8th-grade boys.
  • They touch each other ALL THE TIME. 
  • Most are in constant motion.
  • They are loud, even when they try not to be.
  • They come in many different sizes.
  • No matter the size, most are really awkward.
  • Anything can be turned into sexual innuendo
  • They think old lady subs are clueless about sexual innuendo.
  • They want you to like them, even when they act like they don't.
Next year I'll be filling in for a friend when she takes maternity leave, and I think that will be a bit easier. For one, I'll be more prepared!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday Tired

I forgot about being Friday tired.

Teaching all week. Grading papers. Working with students. A little lesson planning.

I forgot about being Friday tired.

But whoa!

Right now, sitting in the last class of the day (who are remarkably quiet and busy) I am having to work to keep my eyes open. I graded a couple of quizzes, but, right now,  I can't face the rest of the assignments that need a grade. They are going to have to wait.

Wait until tomorrow morning when I will wake up at whatever time I want. Wait until after I've had several cups of really good coffee. Wait until I've had a little lake time to breathe.

They certainly aren't going anywhere and I know I can get them graded in a short time when I am not Friday tired.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Shower Thoughts

The best ideas come to me in the shower.

And today, I even remembered it after the shower!

"What am I going to do with the 8th graders?"
"What am I going to do with the 8th graders?"
"What am I going to do with the 8th graders?"


This last week, those words just kept running through my head. Once they finished this writing assignment, what would they do? There would be another week of school left!

And then as I was washing my hair, it hit me--or maybe I rubbed it in--
The fun writing activities I used to do in Creative Writing!  I'll set up stations with directions and give them choices to write about.

Better than a movie. Better than sitting and doing nothing.

We can make this work.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

#sol18 Walking with Grandpa

I see the girls first.
Twirling,
Skipping,
Walking backward.

They make me smile with their simple joy. And then I notice who they are walking to school with. It has to be Grandpa and his old black lab. They are walking slowly, and you can tell, Grandpa is listening intently to the animated conversations he's being gifted with this morning. I think how lucky they all are, to have these special moments in the morning.

The girls will head into school and start their day having been listened to, loved and appreciated. Grandpa and the lab will head home with smiles and Gramps will chuckle several times throughout the day thinking about the conversation as they walked. They too will have been listened to, loved and appreciated. Isn't that a lovely way to start your day?

And me? I start my school day with a smile too and an appreciation for the little things.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Just Like Riding a Bike

I don't know what or why. But I'm doing an emergency long-term sub position at my old high school. A call yesterday to sub today. And then the "Are you open? Can you do the rest of the week? Maybe the rest of the year?" I know I will sub tomorrow, but I really don't know about the rest of the year. Yet.

I will because I know it's an emergency.
I will because the classes are mostly the ones I left a year ago.
I got this.
And I can figure out the rest.

It's amazing how you can step back into the classroom so quickly.

I handled eighth graders by introducing myself (that was strange) and going around and talking to them all individually while they worked on a speech. If I'm going to work with them, I've got to make connections quickly.

The upperclassmen next door laughed when they heard me with the eighth graders--especially the boys. And they really thought it was strange to hear me introduce myself. "You're a legend, Mrs. Day. How do they not know you?"

Two of the lit classes I've taught before are reading books I know quite well. No problem with discussions there. We'll take it one day at a time and we'll all be ready. One lit class is reading Gatsby and it's been quite a while since I read that. If I have to finish the year, I'll be reading it over the weekend.

Connecting. Reading. Planning.

I've got this.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Celebrating All the Little Things That Make Me Happy

1. IT. IS. FINALLY. SPRING!

2. Next weekend we will open our lake trailer. Not going to lie. April was a long winter. When I should have been packing lake boxes, planting flowers and enjoying the nice weather, I was, instead, shoveling snow and wrapping in blankets for warmth.

3. Spring Flowers. I finally went this week and bought some. Created a couple of pots to put on the deck. It's not warm enough yet to plant them in the ground. But we're getting there.

4. Chloe and I have been walking again and checking out signs of spring in the neighborhood. Tulips are up. Snow crocuses are blooming. Birds are everywhere looking for food. And I think we've seen the last of the "snirt"

5. Awesome fun finds at the Dollar Tree. You have to love a store where everything is literally a dollar.

6. Subbing has been fun this week. I love making new connections with kids I didn't have in class while I taught. I also love that as soon as I walk in the door kids are asking who I'm there for. And I know they cheer because their regular teacher is gone and any sub is a good day, but I choose to smile and think they are happy I am there.

7. I think I'm finally healthy. This winter was a tough one. Flu, a major cold, sinus infection. Yuck. I am done with antibiotics!

8. Sunshine.

9. Good books and plenty of time to read them.

10. Our library's annual used book sale. I got a bag full of fun books for me and the grandkids. Bring on summer beach reading.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

#sol18 All The Plans for a Spring Day



I try not to complain, but spring has been slow in coming this year. Finally, the last couple of days showed promise. Sunshine and warmth visited and melted the last piles of snow from last week's blizzard.

After school yesterday was marvelous. The grocery store and Shopko finally had their greenhouses up, waiting for the flowers to arrive.

Chloe and I walked when I got home and the snow crocuses were up at the neighbor's.

After our walk, we hit the deck even though it wasn't really ready for us. So today we have spring chore plans:



  • Wash the deck
  • Bring the outdoor rug up
  • Chairs are good. Bring at least a couple out
  • Maybe at least a little table (for wine)
  • Buy some flowers and plant some pots
  • A little raking
  • A little planning of yard areas
  • Check out the chairs with a nap in the sun
  • Read my book
  • Check out the table height for wine. Sip a glass.
  • Enjoy

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Celebrating Little Songs of Joy



Scrolling through Facebook this morning as I always do with my first cup of coffee. It seems today my feed is full of the music of students and former students and it has started my day with a smile and a happy heart.



I can't share the first with you (but oh I wish I could).  D is a former speech kid who now is attending college and majoring in musical theatre, I think. He's part of a jazz singers group that had a concert last night and thanks to his mom posting videos, this morning I started my day with D singing Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. It's one of my favorite standards, sung by one of my favorite young men.

I also listened to a group of sisters that attend our schools. The oldest, Addie, has been a student of mine since she was an 8th grader. Simply. I love her. She makes me smile and be happy. She is such a wonderful young woman.

Yesterday I told her how much I enjoyed all the videos her family has been posting of The Sopha Sisters. The girls are playing at a folk music concert this weekend, so they've been sharing out some music. The girls also had a radio interview yesterday morning which was fun for me to listen to. I've embedded that so you can start your day with a smile too. They sing right at the beginning so you don't have to listen to the whole interview. And if you want, check out their Facebook page. There's some good music posted there too!


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#sol18 . I Am A Collector of Words





Today's Writing Quote: To write means more than putting pretty words on a page; the act of writing is to share a part of your soul with the world.





I am a collector of quotes. Of words. Other people's words. I save them everywhere my notebooks, random slips of paper, Pinterest. Truth be told, I have four different boards on Pinterest where I save words that touch my soul. I have poetic words, quotes, book quotes and writing quotes.

My love of other people's words began in ninth grade when my social studies teacher started class every day with a quote. We wrote the quote in our notebook, along with the author. The notebook was graded quarterly. If we were absent, it was our responsibility to get the quote we missed from a friend.

I don't remember him writing the quote on the board so it would be easier to write down. I just remember him standing in the door frame, arms crossed, saying the quote in whole once, in phrases once, and then again in whole. No repeats. Listen and get it.

I wish I could say I still had the notebook, but it is long gone, along with many of the memories of that time. But one quote stayed with me throughout the years. This one from Albert Camus. At the time, I loved it because I hated winter and loved summer and wanted to keep "summer me" around all the time.

I still like it for that.

But as I grew as a person it also said that I survived. I handled whatever life had to throw at me. It reminds me to find the JOY, the happiness, the good, when all around me seems to be going to hell.


As I wrote this post and looked for images to go along with it, I found what I think is the original quote (I'm going to investigate a little more). And I smiled. Because this is the quote I will hang on to for the rest of my life.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Celebrating Survivors


Today's writing quote: The Universe is not made of atoms. It's made of tiny stories.


I subbed three days at our alternative high school this week. Most of these students I've had before when they were in "regular" school. It didn't work for them. 

They all have stories.

He
Was abused for 5 years
By. His. Mom.
(I don't understand how moms can do that.)
But he survived.
His scars don't show, but they do have names.
BD
OCD
ADHD
Bipolar

He
Handles life with
snark and
suspicion.
He has a right to be angry
To hate the woman

But he is a survivor
He's starting a new life
with new people
and determination.


She
Wandered off her path and
Ran with a bad crowd
She was an angry ass she says
Even though her family
Was behind her and
Tried to pull her
Back to the path.

She
Counts sober days
While most around her
Count down to graduation
She'll make that milestone too.

She
Tells me
Every. Day. Is. Hard.
Sometimes every hour.
But she is a survivor
With a new attitude
That keeps her wandering
From her new path
Today.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Celebrate!



LIfe has been good for this old retired teacher--although I don't feel old and I've been subbing a lot, so sometimes I don't feel retired. Wait! Yes, I do. There's no bag of grading and planning coming home with me every day :)  This week's celebrations were easy to find and you'll probably hear more about them in the weeks to come.



1. A former student and speech kid texted me the other day and invited me to a reception in which she will be receiving a Congressional Merit Award. I had no idea what this award was but told her I'd be honored. This is a student who has kept in touch with me throughout the school year. She filled me in on speech happenings, even thanking me at the end of the season for my part in her speech career. I haven't seen her to ask about this award, but if it's this, I'm incredibly honored that she asked me to attend.




2, Twice in the last couple of weeks I've been asked to sub in classrooms because the kids asked for me and teachers were more than willing to have me. It's nice. When I taught full time I often didn't ask for specific subs, just took the luck of the draw. Although, in my 28 years, there were a couple that I specifically asked that they NOT sub in my room. And it was because of the way the kids talked about them. They were generally unfair and tried to impose their own rules in a room where they really didn't know the kids. I'm glad that the kids know me well enough and still want me to sub in their room.


3. Turning 60 is a big birthday in our friend group the last year or two and unless you plan your own party like I did, our group is going to plan you a surprise party. Last October, we dressed as hippies and surprised the birthday girl and took her out on the town,

Tonight, we're all traveling about an hour from me (much longer for some) to surprise another friend. He owns his own exterminator company, so we had shirts made for the occasion (and yes. A couple of us will dress as bugs). We also have gray afro wigs to match his curly hair.

He doesn't know we're coming.
He doesn't know some others are coming.
He definitely doesn't know about the shirts and the wigs.

Should be fun!

Today's writing quote: "Make notes--I've lost more material than I've ever written. Contrary to popular opinion, it's not still up there in one's brain. It's in outer space and it ain't ever coming back."   Judith Guest

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

#sol18 . Daydreaming of My Favorite Place

Today's Writing Quote:
There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; Sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.
                                                                      ~~E Hemingway~~




I love any space by water. 
I find myself most at peace, 
most relaxed, 
more me, 
when water is part of my view.

The sound of the waves
The fresh smell,
Warm breezes, and
Campfire conversations

I love our little trailer with
sagging floorboards
and 
grandkid stained carpet
I don't need perfect here.

Today
as I sit wrapped in a blanket
waiting for snowfall and
freezing temps
I dream
Warm temps
Gentle breezes
Summer


Monday, April 2, 2018

This Is How It Starts

"Don't be afraid to write crap because crap makes great fertilizer." ~~ Jessica Brody

And, this is the point in my writing year where I find it hard to continue. After I staggered to the end of the March slicing challenge my brain says, "No More. I have nothing left to blog about."

I didn't write yesterday.

I almost didn't write today.

The procrastinating starts easily enough. "I'm just going to skip today."
One day doesn't matter.

But then tomorrow comes.
I'll write later after I ____________________ (fill in the blank)

Only later never comes.

And before you know it, a week, a month passed. And you haven't written a word.

So, that's why I'm writing now. Publishing now. Crap though it is.
I need to start filling up notebook pages again.
Crap though they are. Because somewhere in the lines I wrote today will be the beginnings of a poem or a slice of life. Someday I'll look back and be glad that I took the time to write.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

{solsc} 31/31 #sol18 . So Long. Farewell.



So here we are. 31 Days of Slicing is over. For some, they won't post again until next March. And that's OK.

Keep writing.

Others will continue to slice and post on Tuesdays. And that's good.

Keep writing.

Some won't post anywhere, but they will write. I love that.

Keep writing.

Writing is important no matter when and where you do it. 

Keep writing.

I've been writing most every day since January and now it's a habit. A good habit. So tonight, inpreparation for April, I've found some new writing prompts to add to my writer's notebook pages (I HATE a blank notebook page when I sit down to write.) 

In my daily writing habit, I've discovered a few things:
  • I write better and more consistently when I write in the morning. I have a morning brain and I know that. I need to schedule the time and just write.
  • I write better when I have a plan or a prompt. So tonight, inpreparation for April, I've found some new writing prompts to add to my writer's notebook pages. I do not want to face blank notebook pages.
  • I want to start a new way of writing for me and try taking pictues and captioning them on instagram. My favorite people to follow on Instagram write more than two words to describe their pictures.
  • I really like comments and to get them, I have to visit my blogging friends and comment. This needs to be part of my daily writing habit.
  • I have quite a few other little writing projects I want to tackle: real letters to friends, starting some heritage scrapbooks and write what I know in them.
  • Tuesdays and Saturdays are must days for me to publish blog posts.
  • The daily reminder from my #TeachWrite tribe keeps me motivated to write (check them out on Facebook )
Thanks to all who commented, thanks to all who motivated. It was a wonderful month. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

{solsc} 30/31 #sol18 . Hello There (A list)


Hello There...

I am not feeling very well, so I'm going to try this list style of post

I keep writing ideas on my Pinterest board, in my notebook and on my computer but they all took too much thought today.

I wish I could write blog posts ahead of time every day. But I can't.

I love these kind of posts when I'm having trouble being prolific

I dance my fingers around on the keyboard, hoping they will work some magic...they didn't.

I sing the Writer's Block Blues the end of every March. 

I think  what I want to write tomorrow to say goodbye to this slicing challenge

I really want to write something fun and playful OR reflective about the month

I need to get my notebook ready for the month of April. I might be done slicing every day, but I am NOT done writing every day.

I should find some new prompts to help me write next week and put them on the pages of the my notebook.

I can take my notebook with me every day and hope inspiration finds me.

I like how I've begun writing prompts and writing quotes on each page of my notebook for the week. I never face a blank page.

I always write better when I keep my notebook with me.

This is an idea I found on my Pinterest board. I pin throughout the year, so when I hit writer's block like I did today, I have something I can write...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

{solsc} 29/31 #sol18 Laughable

 My Stupid sign is flashing today and here is what I'm finding laughable...

Pouty Students: There are always those students who think if they pout and give you the silent treatment it will hurt your feelings.  It doesn't it. Some days, it makes my time in the classroom better. Then, for good measure, they throw in not doing the work that has been assigned. By now I should be crying in my pillow.

Then. Let's talk about the kids who haven't done any work for three days. Today. Day 4. Your assignment is due. These guys want to know why four notecards aren't enough.

How about the kids sharing a computer and pretending to work.

Or the kid who spent nine minutes in the bathroom.

Why do I find this laughable?
Because they've been given every chance, every reminder.
Because it will come back to haunt them.
Because I love saying, "I told you so."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

{solsc} 28/31 #sol18 Nothing is Truly Lost


I couldn't find it.

Three times I went into the basement where I knew I had put it after Christmas. I went upstairs and looked in the Christmas decorations "just in case".

I took a flashlight and did the CSI thing. I double checked the cupboard.

I just couldn't find it.

Throughout the search, my husband kept asking helpful questions like

  • Are you sure it's not upstairs? Yes! I know it is somewhere in the basement.
  • Would you have gotten rid of it? Never! It's Dad's pan. And I use it for lots of things!
  • Why didn't you leave it in the cupboard?  It's. Too. Big. And takes up way too much room.
  • Have you checked the basement again? Yes.
All of this was because he was cooking. Roast, potatoes, carrots in the oven. And he wanted the BIG pan.  

I used it at Christmas when the kids were home. When everyone left, I took it to downstairs.

WHERE DID I PUT IT?

He walked down the stairs, into the main room, walked over to the shelves, and said, "Here it is."

I swear I looked there. 3 times.

As he walked back up, me trailing behind, he says, "This ought to take off a couple of times. Maybe three or four."

Because you know, I am the Mom/Wife and I am the finder of things.

Except for the big pan.




Monday, March 26, 2018

{solsc} 26/31 #sol18 Fran



"Hey Neighbor. Fran here. Fran L.......
Just wanted to know if you wanted some T N T?"

I had to stop and think.
T N T?
Dynamite?  No...

I laughed the first time I got that call and had to ask what he meant.

Trout and Tomatoes.

Duh! Of course!

Fran was a fixture in our neighborhood. He gave away so many tomatoes I wondered if he and his wife Pat ever had enough for themselves. At his funeral last week the stories were all the same. Fran took them trout fishing, guaranteeing they would catch fish. Fran bringing tomatoes and other vegetables from his garden to share.

We often shared back with Fran and Pat. Polish sausage we brought back from Wisconsin. BBQ ribs from our smoker. But every time my husband took something over to them, be brought something back. Because as Fran explained, "We're Norwegian. If you give us something, we have to give you something back."

Greg and I and our neighbors said goodbye to Fran this week. Our summer will be a lonesome and our salads a little less tasty.






Sunday, March 25, 2018

{solsc} 25/31 #sol18 Thought on Teenagers

In my 61 years on earth, I've learned one thing well in the last couple of years. Don't argue politics on Facebook. My son posted something last night that I agree with and I wanted to respond. But I didn't. Because of not arguing politics on Facebook.

This, however, is my blog.

Great social change often starts with the young. Civil Rights. Segregation. The Viet Nam War. Rock and Roll, for heaven's sake. They have a passion for the things they believe in. They don't understand why you can't just change things that don't work. They aren't cynical yet and don't fall for the "we've always done it that way" line of BS.

I taught teenagers for 28 years. Some of the most passionate, educated, insightful people I've ever met walked through my classroom doors. And they often educated me. I talked with them about important things in their lives and listened to their answers (how many keyboard warriors have talked to a teenager since they were one?). We didn't shy away from controversial subjects and we certainly didn't scream at each other and call each other names. My only requirement was that they back up opinions with real facts, not a meme on Facebook or a sound bite taken out of context.

This is a different world than the one you grew up in. When my 30-something sons were growing up, we had fire drills and tornado drills. They didn't have to be afraid for their lives when they came to school (And if you think kids aren't afraid to come to school, you should talk to a few). By the time I retired, we had active shooter drills. I had to answer questions like, What if I'm in the bathroom? Would you really not let me in the room? What would you do, Mrs. Day? 

Teenagers grieve differently than most adults. The march yesterday started in someone's living room with a group of young people trying to figure out how to handle their grief. How to change a world the NRA has convinced that more guns are the answer to school shootings. Their solution, if you really listened to what they had to say, was to get out and VOTE. Yes, they want to change gun laws. But they are figuring out faster than some adults, that to affect change, you have to change the laws, and to change the laws, you have to change the lawmakers.

And they backed up their get out the vote message with voter registration booths scattered throughout the mall. My favorite question asked by reporters yesterday was "Are you registered to vote?" Most were registered before they came! Maybe we should start asking some adults that question before we let them talk.

To those who think that teenagers don't have or shouldn't express political thoughts. This is their world and we will expect them to lead it in a few years (There are a couple I would vote for tomorrow).  These young people who marched yesterday not only have opinions, they are backing them up with FACTS. They aren't relying on news organizations or any adults to tell them what to think. They are looking things up and backing them up. Quite frankly, I trust their opinion more than someone who relies on Breitbart News for their information.

I'll end with my own words from March 14:

"We want students to advocate for themselves. We TEACH students to advocate for themselves. We want them to come to us if they are being bullied, if someone is abusing them. We want them to tell us if they see something.

This is what they are doing.

If we don't listen now, will they ever come to us again?"






Saturday, March 24, 2018

{solsc} 24/31 #sol18 . Celebrating The Storm That Wasn't and other silly things


Discover. Play. Build.


WINTER STORM WATCH

All week they've been preparing us. Lots of wet heavy snow was heading our way. Rumors of 10 inches of the stuff are being whispered.

WINTER STORM WARNING

Yesterday we were upgraded to a warning from 7:00pm until about 10:00am on Saturday. 4-8 inches of snow. Then 6-10 inches. Forecasters did say this was a narrow swath of heavy snow. Around this area would be significantly less. 

WINTER STORM WARNING

By the 6:00pm news and weather, the timing had changed and so had our forecast. The storm was moving west and south of us and now our warning started at 10:00pm and would last until noon on Saturday.  The good news? Totals were expected to be in the 3-6 inch range.

I go to bed. My weather app says snow will start at 10:47pm

WINTER STORM WARNING

I woke up a little before 7:00am, fully expecting a "winter wonderland" when I put Chloe out. 
Nothing.
And I mean nothing. Everything looks exactly as it did yesterday.
I check road conditions. 9 miles west of us the snowplow cameras show snow covered roads. My friends and family are posting snow pictures on Facebook.

WINTER STORM WARNING

I check the weather online and our warning now extends until 4:00pm today. We're still in the 3-6 inch range with lots of wind and blowing snow.




By the time I shower, make coffee, and write this blog post, the forecast has changed again. Winter Weather Advisory and up to 2 inches of snow. No. Big. Deal.  And, oh yeah, we have a few flakes coming down.







Other things I'm celebrating:
  • Kids who welcome me every time I sub
  • Giggly freshmen girls. They annoyed me when I taught them every day, now they make me smile.
  • Not having to teach a certain kid every day
  • Subbing outside my comfort zone. This week I was in Industrial Tech and Math!
  • Baby news from a friend and baby pics from another
  • NO storm means we can go out for dinner tonight if we want!

Friday, March 23, 2018

{solsc} 23/31 #sol18 . Silly Subbing Snippet


There's always a little silliness at the beginning of class when I sub in my own high school. This is one of those silly little moments, but it made me laugh out loud. D is one of my former speech kids. He's loud, silly and likes to procrastinate working in class.  M is the sister of a favorite student., but I don't know her well yet. They've been chatting and giggling in their table group for about ten minutes. Over Clemintines :)

D: Can I go to my locker?

Me: No. Because you haven't done squat yet.

M: D. Do a squat!

D: Huh?

M: She said you hadn't done squat. Do a squat. Do 2!

D does a squat. Looks at me while I am laughing.

D: Well?

Me: Go!  (How could I say no?)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

{solsc} 22/31 #sol18 What Goes Around


I was not just a teacher of writers in my previous life, I was also a teacher of readers. And long before it was a buzzword, I believed in student choice, especially when it came to the independent books they were reading.

I was lucky as a kid because no one told me what I could and couldn't read. No one told me what genre to read, or that something was too easy or too hard for me. 

I just read.

And when I taught, whether it was 7th grade or 12th grade, I trusted students to read what they wanted, what they needed at the time. I book talked all the time, so students had some ideas and they could always ask for ideas. They usually got a stack of four or five books to choose from, based on what I knew about them.

Anyway. Flash forward to this morning.

A friend on Facebook was looking for additional copies of a book she wanted her middle school kids to read. She's looked everywhere and was not having any luck.

A former neighbor and friend of hers and a former student of mine asked how many she was looking for and then proceeded to order that amount on Amazon. It was the nicest thing I had seen on Facebook for awhile and I told her so.

She responded:

"Anything we can do as adults..."  Isn't that the best? Foster a love of reading in a student and comes back tenfold. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

{solsc} 21/31 #sol18 8th Grade Boys


While I began my career teaching seventh and eighth graders, I ended teaching high schoolers. Mostly juniors and seniors. Trust me. They grow up in the years between middle school and graduation.

But there are lots of things I forgot about middle school-- eighth-grade boys in particular. I notice them yesterday when I subbed for a teacher who taught both middle school and high school students.

  1. The difference in sizes! In one class I had a student who was at least six foot. Standing next to him most of the class period was a boy the same age who would be stretching to hit five foot.
  2. They are loud. Enough said. But so are high school boys. The seventh-grade boys who followed them, however, were not so loud.
  3. They touch everything. Even each other. They are always punching and poking each other. They get into each other's things. They touch everything!!!!
  4. They don't think they have to listen to you. But like a naughty puppy, if you speak sternly (don't yell), they settle down.
  5. They do not know how to flirt with girls. I tried to tell one that going through a girl's pencil bag and complaining how organized it was, wasn't the way to get her to like you.
  6. They are all too cool for school. 
I'm going back to sub for the same teacher today. I bet I'll be able to edit this post after school!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

{solsc} 20/31 #sol18 Rain-Washed Clouds

It must be the day for writing Paint Chip Poetry. I often used this activity when I taught Creative Writing. Today Margaret Simon shared her poetry and how she uses this activity in her classroom. If you are feeling adventurous, give it a try. I found my paint chip on Pinterest!

Waking early
Rain washed gray clouds 
Create a windy blue light
to the day

Drinking coffee
Drizzle falls teasing the tulips
up from the ground

Writing Poetry
As storm clouds gather and 
Rain brings spring to the world